I remember wearing my shoes down until the grip tape scratched my feet. We used all sorts of hacks to make skate shoes last longer. For example, cutting an old wet suit and gluing a piece to my shoes, not ideal, but it worked to some extent. Skate shoes have evolved fortunately, but they still wear down fast given the right conditions.
Here’s how to make your skate shoes last longer:
- Apply superglue to stitching areas where your deck’s grip tape is most likely to make contact.
- Use suede patches from old shoes to cover ollie and kickflip holes.
- Avoid braking with your shoes to reduce wear on the outsoles.
- Apply Shoe Goo to repair holes and tears.
- Buy grip tape that isn’t too gritty or sand down the flick areas.
There are a couple of ways to make your shoes last longer. Even if it’s just for a couple of weeks it could get you some time to save some money. Shoes and decks are probably the most expensive part about skateboarding, depending on how and how often you skate.
- 10 Tips To Increase Skate Shoe Durability
- 1. Reinforce the Areas Likely to Wear Down
- 2. Apply Glue to the Stitches
- 3. Get Suede Shoes, Avoid Canvas
- 5. Use Suede Patches From Old Shoes or Tricktape
- 6. Preventing Skate Shoe Laces From Ripping
- 7. Create Your Own Rubber Toe Cap Using Plasti Dip
- 8. New Grip? Sand It Down
- 9. Get Non-Abrasive DKL Grip Tape
- 10. Stay Away From Hot Glue
- Bonus tip: Get Quality Skate Shoes
10 Tips To Increase Skate Shoe Durability
Some of the solutions have more to do with what to look for when buying shoes where others help you to fix your current shoes. First, let’s see which areas are most likely to wear down the quickest.
1. Reinforce the Areas Likely to Wear Down
Depending on what type of skate you are there are a couple of areas on your skate shoes that wear down more quickly than others.
If you heelflip more often than kickflip you need to take care of that area more than someone who only kickflips.
If you’re not ready for flips and are just practicing ollies, make sure you treat that area and patch when needed. The areas to look for are the side of your shoe where you ollie, under the ball of your foot where you rotate.
The front of your foot where you kickflip and the collar side where you heelflip. lastly, your laces can rip. Consider reinforcing the following areas:
- Shoelace and their direct area.
- Toe boxes.
- Soles of your shoe.
- The padding areas around the heels.
- Heel area.
2. Apply Glue to the Stitches
Once you got a new pair or a pair that you haven’t skated on yet apply superglue to your shoe stitches. Only apply it to the areas where it’s more likely to make contact with your skateboard grip tape.
It’s likely that you have to repeat this process occasionally but will prevent your shoes from tearing apart.
Keep in mind to only apply superglue to the stitches, using it to patch holes will make you lose grip on your deck. If you’re unsure just check your old shoes to see where to put the glue. Apply it to these areas:
- Your nose and toe area (kickflips)
- The side of your shoe (ollies)
- The collar of your shoe (heelflips)
3. Get Suede Shoes, Avoid Canvas
You’ll need a suede or leather shoe, at least the upper, heel, and nose area should consist of suede. Suede is recommended as it provides the most boardfeel where leather feels a bit stiffer.
Buy from known skate brands, most of them have stronger stitching and take lace exposure into account. Some even buy shoes that have rubber toe caps but not everybody likes how they feel.
Look for brands like Adidas, Emerica, Lakai, Etnies, DC, etc. Cupsoles usually last a bit longer but provide less board feel where vulcanized shoes provide more feel but degrade quicker.
- Choose suede, especially in upper, heel, and nose areas. Avoid canvas shoes.
- Opt for reputable skate shoe brands like Adidas, Emerica, Lakai, Etnies, and DC.
- Cupsole shoes last longer
5. Use Suede Patches From Old Shoes or Tricktape
You can get adhesive suede patches like Tricktape and put them on your shoe. These patches will save you a lot of money and are easy to apply.
Another option is to cut out some suede from your old shoes and use the patches to cover holes and tears and use Ripcare or Shoe Goo to attach the patch.
You shouldn’t skate your shoes and wait for 24 hours to let the glue dry. This way you your shoes can last about 30 hours longer.
Save you from buying patches so don’t throw away your old shoes. Put ‘m in a plastic bag if they smell horrible if you have to.
You can either wait for holes to appear or apply them preemptively. It doesn’t really matter. This is a method that I used when I was younger and it still works
6. Preventing Skate Shoe Laces From Ripping
Ripped laces are pretty common, although these those many brands take this into consideration. You can either replace your laces or Shoe Goo them to stop them from falling apart.
You won’t be able to tighten or loosen them anymore so it’s still not ideal. Another way to deal with this is to get lace protectors. If you hardly ever rip your laces, you don’t really need them.
Hidden lace loops could help to prolong their lifespan for a while. It’s just a way of tying your laces in a different way to prevent them from coming into contact with your grip tape.
You can try a variety of lacing methods over here to see what works for you. One more thing you can consider is to skip the bottom lace holes.
Look for skate shoes that have laces higher up the ankles or stock up on cheap laces or get leather laces that last longer. Others suggested coating your laces in rubber cement or buying waxed hockey laces.
The problem is that it’s really hard to prevent. If you do Caspers all do they’ll snap much sooner than when you only ollie.
You can postpone ripping a little by applying some shoe goo at the corners though. My last tip is too sand down your grip tape a little when it’s brand new.
7. Create Your Own Rubber Toe Cap Using Plasti Dip
Plasti dip comes in a spray can and is a liquid that turns into rubber. The great things about this are that it penetrates your canvas or suede deeply and allows you to create multiple layers to fortify your shoes.
Now, this requires a little bit more work than just applying glue but it’s very durable.
The idea is to cover your shoes using tape and creating a mask to help you apply the spray.
This method works for both canvas and suede shoes and looks a lot better than those ugly patches or goo holes.
8. New Grip? Sand It Down
You got your new deck and grip are ready to shred the streets. The first thing you notice is your rough new grip.
To be honest, grip tape is supposed to be grippy and will rip your shoes anyway but you can postpone it a little. Try to sand it down using some of the scraps of grip tape that you cut off.
It will reduce friction and expand the life of your shoes. Just sand down the flick areas, you don’t have to sand down the entire grip tape.
Next time just consider buying less grippy grip tape. Mob Grip and Grizzly are the gippiest, Jessup is more shoe friendly.
9. Get Non-Abrasive DKL Grip Tape
Grip tape plays a huge part in how fast you wear down your shoes, probably 99%. In order to get the most out of your shoes consider buying grip tape that is more forgiving.
DKL grip tape, for example, won’t rip your skate shoes as quicklyIt’s non-abrasive and has tiny smooth bumps on the surface.
You’ll be required to cut it before you sand down the edges instead of the other way around and then leave it alone for about one hour.
The texture is pretty smooth so you might need to get used to it at first. It really helps but not everyone is a fan.
The biggest complaint is that it peels off very quickly and the rubbery material wears down quickly. This seems to have to do with sanding it down properly. If it peels off try to trim the edges and sand it again.
Another issue some people have with this grip tape is that it’s too grippy, making even basic tricks a lot harder.
It basically means that when you try a kickflip it will fly out more because it sticks more to your front foot, making it more difficult to land. It just feels a bit unnatural if you’re used to regular grip tape.
So yeah, it will save your shoes from wear and tear but it comes at a couple of inconveniences. It will take longer before you need to replace your skate shoes, but you’ll sacrifice board feel.
10. Stay Away From Hot Glue
Avoid hot glue, especially on canvas. It will trigger a chemical reaction and will burn the material. This is not recommended for canvas shoes and I also wouldn’t apply it on suede or leather.
Hot glue just falls apart quickly and makes it harder to repair your shoe again.
Bonus tip: Get Quality Skate Shoes
Like already mentioned quality matters. Cheap shoes will wear down faster (usually) and more sturdy shoes made of suede or leather last longer.
If you have a pair that lasted for a long time consider buying them again. If you’re looking for the longest-lasting skate shoes consider Adidas, Lakai, or New Balance.
These shoes are designed to last and lived up to their reputation. Check out my best skate shoes article, you’ll be surprised how long these skate shoes last.
There are a couple of ways to keep your shoes from wearing. Often you don’t think about it until holes and tears start to appear.
The next time when you buy shoes think about what you need and you can prevent many problems beforehand. Glue the stitches, create your own rubber toe caps or get stock ones or patch areas preemptively.
How long skateboard shoes last depends on the roughness of your grip tape, how often you skate and what type of tricks you do.
You can rip canvas shoes apart in an hour or suede shoes in a couple of weeks. There aren’t any shoes that don’t rip, but there are many ways to prevent them from ripping right away. Just make sure you take care of them by using the tips provided.
Now that you know how to make your shoes last longer, you might be interested in which skateboard deck lasts the longest. It could save you a lot of money if you break boards occasionally.